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FFT Weary of Paire's Antics, Rules Him Out of Olympics

By Richard Pagliaro

Talk is cheap, but Benoit Paire's chronic complaints on the state of the pro circuit have proved expensive.

The French Tennis Federation announced today it has ruled Paire out of this summer's Tokyo Olympic Games due to his apathetic attitude on court. The FFT said its decision was made in consultation with Director Technique National Nicolas Escudé and French Davis Cup captain Sébastien Grosjean.

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"In responsibility, for our sport and for France, on the proposal of the DTN and in consultation with Sébastien Grosjean, the Comex has decided to remove Benoît Paire from the future list of players who will represent the FFT and France this summer in Tokyo," FFT president Gilles Moretton said in a statement. "His deeply inappropriate behavior since the beginning of the year seriously undermines the values of sport, like tennis and is totally incompatible with the Olympic spirit.

"I repeat, it is the duty of every player and every top player to respect the values of our sport and it is up to them to be exemplary on and off the court, especially with regard to the young people of our country.

"Given the repetition of deeply inappropriate behavior on the part of Benoît Paire, the FFT Comex, on the proposal of DTN Nicolas Escudé and in consultation with Sébastien Grosjean, captain of the French Davis Cup team, decided to rule out the player of a possible selection at the next Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo."

Life on the pro tour amid a pandemic is driving Paire bonkers.

In a candid Instagram post, Benoit blasted the “pseudo ATP circuit” as “sad, boring and ridiculous” and suggests competing in sterile stadiums largely without fans has drained his pleasure of playing.

“I will talk about the ATP circuit which has become sad, boring and ridiculous,” Benoit wrote in an Instagram post. “I know you are going to say you don't realize how lucky you are blah-blah-blah, but playing in closed stadiums without any atmosphere Isn't that why I play tennis "

Paire blew up in Buenos Aires last month.

Incensed by what he felt was a bad call, Paire spit on a ball mark he had been disputing with the chair umpire, incurred a code violation then slammed a smash in anger. The Frenchman intentionally tanked match point missing a very slow second serve earning some jeers from the limited fans in attendance.

In response to the ensuing controversy, Paire posted a tweet showing his career record and career earnings of $8.5 million.

Asked his reaction to the decision, 13-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal said he likes Paire personally, but understands the FFT's ruling and suggested perhaps Paire needs a rest.

"I really think that Benoit is a great guy; I always liked him," Nadal said after his Barcelona quarterfinal win. "It's true the last couple of months I understand the the frustration of a lot of players about the tough situation that we are facing in the world today.

"But it's true that a couple of things that he said are not welcomed from outside. So I understand the decision, but I repeat that I like Benoit, I think he's a great guy and probably he's a bit tired."

Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve